Hill-Maheux Cottage by Kariouk Associates is designed to be a place of refuge for a family of three as both a weekend escape and a vacation getaway. The design brief was to create a home that was introverted from the world while at the same time allowing the stunning views from the forested lakeside to permeate the inner zones. The cottage would be a place that will eventually be passed down to the couple’s daughter and they wanted the space to be place where memories where recorded and cherished, a place that was deeply personal and specific to their needs. The clients are both involved in art conservation and the idea of using the home as a vessel for family memories – past, present and future – resonated strongly with them. Kariouk Associates designed the Hill-Maheux Cottage to be two separate zones interconnected by a 3rd zone in the form of an overhead loft. One zone would be for the public living spaces, the second zone would be for the private bedrooms and bathrooms and the 3rd loft zone would be specifically for their daughter to enjoy. Each zone would offer both large privacy walls and glass punctuations to allow the stunning landscape to be appreciated from the interior spaces while at the same time protecting the privacy of the homeowners.
The home greets visitors with a friendly expanse of red, while at the same time keeping the privacy of the homeowners intact by creating windowless walls on either side of the entry way. The door is glass as a friendly come hither gesture, but the comings and goings inside the home are not for display. The elliptical loft that spans the entry way and joins the two sides creates a porch shelter of quilted steel that is incised with a pattern of abstracted reeds. The back of the incisions are lined with reflective aluminum so that when the sunlight hits the reeds, they transform their appearance from dark recessed grooves to sparkling silver impressions, allowing the facade to transform itself over the course of a day, a season, and a year as the sun changes its direction and intensity.
The underside of the loft that becomes the ceiling of the foyer is covered in copper and zinc printing plates given to the clients by a print maker friend. The plates are a collection of etched and unetched pieces – some with landscapes that where created by the print maker, others that have been etched by the three family members and the untouched ones that can be removed and etched at a later time to document personal events. This evolving of the ceilings storyline will be a physical record of the past, current and future events that mark the family’s life much the same way our ancestors from way back would record their lives on cave walls.
the foyer is connected to a passageway that leads to the kitchen in the public area, the bedrooms in the private area, and a stairwell up to the loft straight ahead. The burnished tones of the printing plates are complimented by the steel stairwell, the white wrapped walls and the grey flooring.
The stairwell is supported by a single stringer and the perforated risers form an inverted triangle that expand from the riser and then bend at their widest point to become the treads. A simple balustrade of steel capped with a wood bull nosed handrail finishes the open and airy feel of the stairs.
At the top of the stairs the balustrade wraps around to become a safety rail for the loft. The loft has a simple modernist appeal that is exacerbated with the use of plywood as a finished floor treatment. As this is the daughter’s space, the plywood flooring serves dual purpose as an easy to clean – or replace surface.
The elliptical loft serves double duty as the sleeping space for the daughter. Two bright sky blue bedside tables flank the bed and all are positioned centrally in the space. The only other décor is a few select pieces of art and an additional 3rd bedside table that swaps out the blue for the same burgundy tone used in the bedding.
Back down the stairs is the kitchen. An L shape design with a centre island, this kitchen is not meant for lounging as there are no bar stools at the island. Instead there is plenty of easy access storage on both sides of the island so that whomever is helping prepare meals has everything they need close at hand. This kitchen is designed for cooking – large and spacious, there is plenty of room for the whole family to get involved. A long expanse of counter on the short leg of the L is a great place for prep to happen and the island, which holds a second, smaller sink also has plenty of counter space for additional help. The long arm of the L holds the sink, stove and fridge while the cabinets in the cooking zone run double height for plenty of additional storage.
The kitchen is located on end of the living zone and from there a large sitting area is positioned to make the most of both the views and the fireplace. Pot lights travel the length of the ceiling on both sides for even light distribution.
the living area has a small office area at its far end and beyond that a glassed area holds a sunroom for additional lounging.
The sunroom is a wrapped on all 4 sides with windows. One side looks back into the living area and the other three sides expose the incredible views of the trees and lake. One length of floor to ceiling glass opens and stacks for that all important indoor / outdoor lifestyle.
There is a full bathroom and a powder room in the cottage, both located in the private zone on the other side of the foyer. The bathroom is located next to the Master bedroom and makes the most of its small footprint. A stunning walk in shower has a glass partition wall that does not close the space off making entry and exit as easy as stepping in and out. The selections of tiles create a dynamic energy that seems to increase the volume of the room as do the windows in the shower area. Clean lines, bold neutrals and modern materials are all combined to create a space that is both inviting and relaxing.
The floorplan is a simple layout of two rectangles conjoined by the overhead loft.
The loft breaks away from the rectangular lines and creates instead an elliptical shape contained within a quadrilateral formation that has one long side angled.
The silhouette of this cottage is simple, but the interior details are anything but. From the etched and unetched printing plates used on the foyer ceiling to the elliptical loft, from the private entry to the exposed sunroom the Hill-Maheux Cottage is a complex space of personal and architectural details that fill the client brief with all that they wanted and more.